Alumni

The Force is strong with this one: Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo to receive Distinguished Graduate Award

June 14, 2018

Pablo HidalgoAs a wise man named Obi-Wan Kenobi once said, “In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.”

And it certainly wasn’t luck, but hard work and passion, that earned Pablo Hidalgo — a Winnipeg-raised Star Wars fan, now working for Lucasfilm in California — a Distinguished Graduate Award from Red River College.

A 1996 alum of RRC’s Creative Communications program, Hidalgo proved to be more than a simple man trying to make his way in the universe. The skills he acquired at College put him on the path to where he is today.

While working at McKim Communications Group, he used networking skills to land a role with one of his clients, Frantic Films.

That leap took him to California, where he was quickly presented with an opportunity from Lucasfilm — to work as a writer and content developer for StarWars.com.

Since then, Hidalgo has become a creative executive as part of Lucasfilm's story development team, earning the unofficial title of Lucasfilm's ‘resident Star Wars geek,’ who’s most often consulted about the timelines and mythology within the ever-expanding Star Wars universe.

He’ll be presented with the award on Sat., June 23, at the second annual FanQuest convention taking place at RRC’s Roblin Centre. He’s also scheduled to speak twice at the event: presenting Inside Solo: The Official Guide (noon, Sat.) and From Winnipeg to a Galaxy Far, Far Away (1:00 p.m., Sun.).

“It feels great to be recognized by Red River College as a Distinguished Graduate,” says Hidalgo. “If anything, my journey has taught me to always take the opportunities that are presented to you and stay true to who you are. Growing up in Winnipeg was integral to growing my Star Wars hobby obsession, and it’s great to receive this award surrounded by people who understand the creative energy you can harness when you live somewhere that’s covered in snow half the year.” Read More →

Pressure cooker: RRC instructor and former student to face the heat together at national culinary contest

June 7, 2018

Chef Gordon Bailey, Red River CollegeNext week, Culinary Arts instructor Chef Gordon Bailey will return to his old stomping grounds in P.E.I., to represent Manitoba at the senior level of the Canadian Culinary Federation’s national competition.

And while the contest is sure to be the usual high-pressure affair, Bailey says the most exciting part so far has been coaching his junior representative — former Red River College student Argie Garcia.

An RRC instructor since 2013, Bailey describes Garcia as a gifted person who cares about his cooking, has a solid work ethic, and performs well under pressure.

“Cooking is about listening to the environment and the food,” says Bailey (shown above), who in 1999 moved from Winnipeg to Charlottetown, where he opened Lot 30, one of P.E.I.’s most celebrated restaurants.

“Food is something where your passion can be distinctly read through the taste and presentation of your plate. A good cook can put their personal story in it, and [Garcia] does that.”

This year’s competition also takes place in Charlottetown, as part of the Culinary Federation’s 55th annual national conference. The contest consists of a Black Box Challenge — similar to the Mystery Box Challenge on TV’s MasterChef — in which competitors from each province will be given 15 minutes to create a menu using a batch of secret ingredients and pantry staples, and an hour to prepare and plate their servings. Read More →

Manitoba music icon Ray St. Germain to receive Honorary Diploma from RRC

June 5, 2018

Ray St. GermainA household name across the Prairies, Ray St. Germain will be recognized this week with an Honorary Diploma from Red River College.

An award-winning producer, host and entertainer on more than 600 TV and radio programs — including Big Sky Country, Rhythms of the Métis, and the 1969 variety series Time for Living — St. Germain’s engaging, creative and passionate storytelling style shines a spotlight on the history of Manitoba, while helping to build an understanding and appreciation of Métis culture across Canada.

Currently the host of NCI-FM Radio’s Métis Hour X2, St. Germain will attend this week’s Spring Convocation ceremony to accept an Honorary Diploma from RRC’s Creative Communication program.

“Ray is someone who embodies the values of Red River College and serves as an inspiration to many of the creative young people who are receiving their diplomas alongside him today,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“This is the highest honour given by Red River College, and is reserved for individuals who have achieved considerable success in their lives. We have tremendous respect for Ray, who has dedicated his life to sharing the stories of Métis people, and opened the door for others to do the same.” Read More →

Recipients of Spring 2018 Lt.-Gov.'s Medals for Proficiency announced

June 4, 2018

Congratulations to the most recent recipients of Red River College's Lieutenant-Governor's Medals for Proficiency, who'll receive their awards as part of our 2018 Spring Convocation ceremonies on June 5 and 6.

Each year, up to four Lt.-Gov.'s Medals are awarded to RRC students who best combine good character, academic and technical achievement, and involvement in College and/or community activities. This year's winners are:

Cheryl Janz — A May 2018 graduate of Red River College’s Disability and Community Support program, Cheryl Janz finds happiness in helping people.

Having worked in the disabilities services field for 20 years, Janz says being able to go back to school and improve her knowledge was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity she didn’t want to miss out on.

“I’m someone who believes in lifelong learning,” says Janz. “And what I’m taking away from completing the course is more knowledge and understanding. That’s something I can share with others and will make a positive change for the people I support.”

The structure of the program — theory, practical work experience, and self-reflection — is something that resonated with Janz.

“Because there’s people in the program coming from different organizations and experiences, you get to hear a variety of perspectives and ways of doing things,” she explains. “Each course had a self-reflection component where I could take what I learned and ask myself, ‘What I can change, why I do things the way I do, and how I can do better to inspire equality?’”

A mother of three, Janz says the decision to go back to school was one that was fully supported and encouraged by her family, and by her manager at enVision Community Living, an organization that provides services to persons with disabilities in Southeastern Manitoba.

“It’s been an adjustment for everybody but it’s worth it,” she says.

Outside the classroom, Janz spends time with her family as much as possible. When she’s not cheering on her kids at soccer matches, curling games or school events, you can find them volunteering together for Faith and Light, Variety Children’s Charity and the Circle of Hearts Family Support Network.

Felipe GomesFelipe Tadeu Matoso Gomes — Felipe Gomes always dreamed of moving to Canada to pursue his passion for business and creative marketing. Two years ago, that dream became a reality, when he packed his bags and moved to Winnipeg to enrol in the Business Administration program at Red River College.

Born and raised in Recife, a city in Northeast Brazil, the 27-year old was working as an engineer when he deciding to switch countries and careers.

“I spent a lot of time researching different schools and various business programs,” says Gomes. “I’ve always had a passion for marketing, but I wanted to find a program where I could learn the basics and have an opportunity to explore the various fields of business. RRC’s Business Administration program stood out to me as a program where I could test my general knowledge and get a sense of what I really liked before majoring.”

Gomes recalls being overwhelmed with the support he received from instructors, classmates and the larger College community.

“My dream has always been to work in a creative industry, but I had doubts this would be possible because English is not my first language,” he says. “My reservations quickly went away once I began my studies. The program provided me with the knowledge, experience, support and confidence that I needed to succeed.” Read More →

Graphic Design program marks 50th anniversary with student showcase and pop-up shop

May 2, 2018

Design Show logoRed River College’s Graphic Design program celebrates its 50thanniversary in style this week, with a showcase and pop-up shop featuring work created by students.

The ‘Best Ever’ Design Show — comprised of work by RRC’s Graphic Design, Advanced Graphic Design, Digital Media Design and 3D Computer Graphics students — takes place Wednesday and Thursday, May 2 and 3, at the Roblin Centre downtown.

The event also doubles as an anniversary for the Graphic Design program, which first launched 50 years ago in the fall of 1968. Originally called Advertising Art — with a focus on design for print — the program has evolved to incorporate digital design as a core component, preparing students for work in creative fields such as illustration, advertising, web design and app development.

From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, members of the public are invited to view or purchase students’ work in the Roblin Centre Atrium. The anniversary concludes Thursday with an industry night, where current students can network with RRC alumni and industry guests.

Culinary Arts grad takes top honours at Gold Medal Plates competition

November 9, 2017

Mike Robins, Gold Medal Plates 2017For the second year in a row, a Red River College grad has taken the top prize at an annual competition showcasing the local culinary scene’s best and brightest.

Chef Mike Robins (Culinary Arts, 2010), of Osborne Village eatery Sous Sol, claimed the prime podium spot at this year’s Gold Medal Plates competition in Winnipeg. He now advances to the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna.

Robins edged out the competition with a perfectly seared scallop dish that judges described as “so simple [and] so delicious” — though they went on to concede the rest of the elements on his plate were anything but basic.

“Headlining in terms of umami-saturated flavour was a superb sauce — a beurre blanc made from a dashi broth and enriched with miso, [Robins’] homemade Dijon-style mustard, lemon, wine, and the liquor from the raw scallops,” reads a rave posted to the event’s blog site.

“Button-sized slices of zucchini, pickled in apple cider and cider vinegar flavoured with turmeric and mustard, stood upon dots of puréed carrot. A half teaspoonful of pickled mustard seed was carefully judged — not too tangy — while fresh dill fronds and a cool herb oil made with sorrel, dill and chives brought a little chlorophyll to the party.

Mike Robins' seared scallop dish“Potato also featured, but in a most unexpected way. They had been put through a Chinese turning slicer, emerging like string, which [Robins] dyed black with cuttlefish ink, wrapped around a cannoli tube and then deep-fried into crispy spirals.”

Each year in cities across the country, Gold Medal Plates regional events find chefs battling each other and the clock — with just 90 minutes to prepare and serve their culinary creations to a crowd of 600.

Dishes are then judged by a panel of food critics and culinary experts. This year’s judges included RRC’s Jeff Gill (Director, Food Services), former College staffer and MasterChef Canada contestant Mike Green, and last year’s regional winner, Culinary Arts alum Jeremy Friesen, of Pizzeria Gusto.

The events also double as a fundraiser for the Canadian Olympic Foundation, which supports the technical, scientific, medical and coaching needs of Canada’s athletes.

The national competition takes place Feb. 2 and 3, 2018.

Photo credits: Peg City Grub/Mike Green

Inaugural Hospitality Homecoming set to celebrate alumni achievements, prep current students for success

October 16, 2017

Jane's restaurant, Paterson GlobalFoods InstituteYou’ve heard the phrase ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’? Well, for one day next month, the more cooks, the better.

On Tue., Nov. 7, the College’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts will host its first Homecoming Dinner for graduates of the Culinary Arts, Professional Baking and Patisserie, and Hospitality and Tourism Management programs.

The event will celebrate the achievements of the school’s alumni, while raising money for the Student Travel Opportunity Fund, which helps Baking and Culinary Arts students compete in national and international competitions, and provides Hospitality and Tourism Management students with opportunities to enhance their skills through travel.

Recently, the Fund allowed two Baking students to attend a four-week-long course in Germany, and six Culinary Arts students to participate in the Cook the Books competition in Toronto.

“Participating in competitions motivates students to strengthen their technical skills, learn new techniques and practice at elevated skill levels,” says Karen McDonald, Chair of Hospitality and Culinary Arts at RRC.

“Our programs are strengthened when students can participate in high-level competitions, and bring back new skills they’re eager to share in the culinary labs. Similarly, students in Hospitality and Tourism programs benefit from educational travel by experiencing local cultures.”

 Read More →

RRC grads vie for podium placement at skilled trades competition in Abu Dhabi

October 5, 2017

Ashley Weber and Silas MeechesAshley Weber and Silas Meeches are no strangers to performing under pressure.

Between them, the Red River College grads have six gold and silver medals from provincial and national skills competitions under their belts. Now they’re taking their talents to the international level.

Weber and Meeches will travel to Abu Dhabi next week to compete with Team Canada in the 44th WorldSkills Competition, which will host 1,259 competitors from 58 countries and regions.

Held every two years, it’s the biggest vocational education and skills excellence event in the world based on global industry standards, and the best opportunity for competitors to demonstrate technical abilities while executing tasks they’d perform in their workplaces.

“It feels completely different,” says Meeches. “Part of it is being in a different country, but the competition is a lot more advanced. It’s longer and the rules are a lot more strict.”

The 21-year-old will be competing in the CNC Milling category, where he’s hoping to set a new record.

“The highest a Canadian has placed in my skill is seventh,” he explains. “Ultimately I want to win the gold, but placing sixth and setting a new record would be incredible.”

Weber, 20, has been passionate about car painting from the moment she got her hands on a spray paint gun in high school. She’s hoping this month’s opportunity will earn her a new credential for her resume.

“I’m aiming to receive the Medallion of Excellence,” says Weber. “It means that you’ve met or exceeded the industry standard in your trade. I feel confident that I have the most knowledge to do the best that I can in the competition, but I hope my best will earn me the medallion.” Read More →

Twist and shout: Paterson GlobalFoods Institute celebrates fifth anniversary with pretzel-making tutorial

September 22, 2017

Susanne Gessler, Paul Vogt and Brian Bowman, Paterson GlobalFoods Institute 5th anniversaryMayor Brian Bowman and Red River College President Paul Vogt joined students from RRC’s Professional Baking and Patisserie program this morning to mark the five-year anniversary of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute with a friendly pretzel-making bake-off.

The two were assisted by Suzanne Gessler, proud RRC graduate and owner of The Pennyloaf Bakery, a small-batch artisanal shop on Corydon. Gessler coached Bowman and Vogt while sharing her experiences as a baker and business owner — one who set aside her career as a civil servant to attend RRC’s Exchange District culinary school.

Gessler is one of more than 600 graduates who’ve passed through the doors of PGI since it became the new home to RRC’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts in 2012.

“Today we celebrate not only the tremendous impact the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute has had on education in our city, but also the positive impact of the College’s expansion into the Exchange District,” says Vogt.

“Restoring heritage buildings and bringing thousands of students and staff to the area has sparked new economic activity and helped revitalize this iconic community.”

Before its restoration, PGI was home to the Union Bank Tower, Winnipeg’s first and oldest skyscraper — and at one time, the tallest building in Canada. Today, the LEED Gold-certified building houses RRC’s culinary, hospitality and baking programs, as well as the College’s first-ever student residence, which is running at full capacity this year.

PGI is a key component of RRC’s Exchange District Campus, which also includes the nearby Roblin Centre on Princess Street. The campus will soon undergo a massive expansion with the construction of a 100,000-square foot Innovation Centre. Fundraising efforts supporting the new state-of-the-art facility are now underway.

“Red River College continues to be a strong anchor and foundation supporting the growth and revitalization of our downtown and the Exchange District,” says Bowman. “It’s great to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, a building that continues to help foster round-the-clock activity, and it’s great to see people increasingly recognizing the Exchange as a place to visit, live and spend money.” Read More →

Rattling pans: RRC chefs doing culinary battle in support of CancerCare Manitoba

September 19, 2017

Claire Snowball, Red River College chefA pair of Red River College chefs will go head-to-head against some of the culinary community’s best this weekend, serving up on-the-fly creations while raising money for a worthy cause.

Representing RRC’s Food Services department, Claire Snowball and Jon Royal are among eight teams of competitors taking part in Kitchen Kumite: Clash of Pans, a culinary battle of innovation, passion and speed being held to benefit CancerCare Manitoba.

The Iron Chef-style event takes place at the Kitchen Sync on Donald Street, where chefs will attempt to create the best dish using different surprise ingredients from each competition. The quarter-finals take place this Sun., Sept. 24, while the semi-finals and finals will be held Sun., Oct. 1.

As is often the case in local competitions of these kind, Snowball (shown above) and Royal will be competing against a number of fellow RRC graduates, including Paul Eccles (Clementine), Mike Robins (Sous Sol), Jackie Hildebrand and Alex Poitras (Hy’s Steakhouse), Jeremy Senaris (MasterChef Canada runner-up), Mark Sobervinas (Fruit by the Slice), Matty Neufeld (Pine Ridge Hollow), and Stephen Strecker (ERA Bistro).

The event is the brainchild of local chef Allan Pineda (Baon Craft Lumpia, Baon Manila Nights), also a Culinary Arts grad from 2006.

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